Side note: Seriously, if you have not tried Cucina Fresca pasta or sauce, you should. It’s delicious. In the privacy of my own home, I will lick my plate clean if we use the Tomato Vodka sauce. No joke.
Downtown Walla Walla Foundation Criterium
My criterium start was at 2:30 pm—not leaving time for a nap, so I downed a grande latte instead. We were the first race, so I warmed up for 40 minutes on the course and got very familiar with each corner and line.
For the last few laps, I took it easy and completed one more lap than most. I was excited that I had the luxury due to the call-up.
For those who don’t know what a call-up is, its when all the riders get pushed back from the start line and the race announcer brings the top 3-5 riders from the general classification. Then, they allow everyone else to come back to the line. This ensures that the top riders have a prime starting spot.
Well, I learned my lesson!! I rolled up to the start line behind everyone else, patiently waiting for the call-up. The Head Referee went through the rules and got into position to start the race. NO CALL-UP! I panicked. I was in the worse possible place to start a criterium. Next time, I will not make that assumption again! Although, to my defense, they did a call-up for the rest of the categories.
The gun went off and the race began. The riders in front of had a hard time clipping in and it took me a full lap to get around everyone to catch the frontrunners. That is why you cannot start in the back at a criterium! They are short and fast. This one was only 25 minutes long.
And, honest, that 25 minutes was a blur. I recall my lungs and glutes burning. I remember that Sarah C., Sarah B. and LB went up the road but couldn’t figure out why. Later I found out that it was the time bonus prime lap. I don’t understand why I never hear the prime laps, but I don’t. I knew that those three women were strong and could be dangerous if they got organized so Emily from Blue Rooster and I worked together to catch them.
Once we did, the rest of the pack wasn’t far behind and we were altogether. Not too much after that, there was the hideous sound of carbon and bodies hitting each other and then the ground. Several racers crashed just to the right of me and hearing that heartwretching sound never gets easier. I was thankful to get out of the situation safely and we had 10 riders in the game for the final few laps.
At the final lap bell, Sarah B. went flying. I wish I was that bold! She had every intention of staying away for the whole lap. But, she was going to have to work for it. Jessica went drilling after her, and I was lucky enough to be on her wheel and strong enough to stay there. It was a photo finish at the line between Sarah B. and Jessica, but Sarah B. was able to hold it out for first. Jessica finished second, and I was able to hold on for third.
26:41 (22.26 mph) for 3rd place. 3rd overall in the GC after two stages.